Supporting those with life-threatening diseases, big bills, and nowhere else to turn
• Scleroderma – a progressive disease that results in the thickening of her skin and tissues - restricts the ability of her esophagus to swallow properly, and is attacking her liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart. This is called CREST, affecting her face, throat, lungs, and heart. There is no cure and it can be fatal. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic's website.
• Vasculitis – an inflammation of the blood vessels that causes thickening of the veins and arteries and makes it difficult to get adequate blood to the organs. A severe form of vasculitis, like Cristy has, can result in death. She experiences bleeders under her skin, eye problems, and kidney problems. She often runs fevers and is chronically tired. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic's website.
• Ankylosing Spondylitis – a chronic disease that causes inflammation and degeneration of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and in the joints of the hips. Other parts of the body can be affected as well. In Cristy’s case, her spine, neck, and hips are chronically painful, and AS is contributing to her eye problems. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic's website.
Cristy has undergone major medical treatment, including methotrexate injections into her abdomen to stabilize her for infusions of a drug called Rituxan. The Rituxan therapy will allow her to have bone marrow and stem cell transplants. Ultimately, that surgery will give her the best chance for a ‘normal’ life.
Cristy may not look sick to you, but that's because she continues to give far beyond what her body should be able to do. She has an incredible will to live and to live life on her own terms. If it is up to her, she will never give in to these diseases; but it may not be up to her.
Her insides are a mess and she’s dealing with pain none of us can imagine. But she has faith in God and she has faith in the support of her doctors and friends. She won’t give up. And she needs our help right now.
Pictured above with Cristy is the Woot Monkey--those of you familiar with Woot.com will know him. He often travels with Cristy, and he's always good for a laugh. Below: Click on the first picture if you want to see what is going into Cristy's body during this infusion on May 4, 2010 . Cristy's courage might flag from time to time, but she really wants these treatments to work. Her will to live is strong.
Copyright 2010 One of Our Own Fund
See Old News for the original updates on Cristy's treatment and progress.
See also an article about Bob Saget's sister, who died of the disease, and another article about Jason Alexander's sister. Both articles offer insights into the seriousness of diseases like scleroderma, which is only one of the problems Cristy has. Saget directed a TV movie called "For Hope," about his sister the the impact of her illness and death on the family.